Thursday, 31 July 2008

Pier Place - Alien Rock

This picture was taken from Newhaven harbour, looking back towards Newhaven and Trinity. The church on the left was originally called Old Newhaven Church, but has since been converted into an indoor climbing centre! It's called Alien Rock and was created in 1994, by two former navy engineers and one of their climbing partners who built the entire climbing structure themselves!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Art on the Mound

No, I'm not talking about the National Gallery on the Mound! I spotted this guy a few days ago, at the bottom of the steps next to the galleries. He was very entertaining to watch because of the sheer physicality of creating his art work. Not sure I want one of them on my wall though.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Silhoutte of St Giles

The distinctive outline of St Giles Cathedral (officially High Kirk) seen from the Royal Mile looking up!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Newhaven Lighthouse

Time for another lighthouse picture! This one was taken on Saturday evening, when Mr DiDo and I popped down to Newhaven Harbour with half a bottle of rose wine... I'm afraid I spoiled the romantic atmosphere somewhat by continuously taking pictures of the harbour in this gorgeous orange light. I love the slow Scottish sunset at this time of year!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Colourful people

This lady is a familiar sight on the streets of Edinburgh - though not always quite as colourful! Clearly the little girl sees her for the first time.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Summer in the city

Hurray! Summer has finally arrived in Britain, and even in this windy city! Lots of people enjoying Princes Street gardens on a Friday afternoon.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Ode to Set/Stage Builders

Today's post is dedicated to all those people who make the Fringe happen, year in, year out - the stage and set builders! Just one week to go...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Blackford Hill

Today's offering is courtesy of Mr DiDo, who works in the south of Edinburgh. This is Blackford Hill, some 3 km south of the city centre and 164m high. The green-domed building is the Royal Observatory, which houses the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Edinburgh. Like Arthur's Seat and the Crags, Blakford Hill gives stunning views of the city and the surrounding country - and there are no less than three golf courses attached to it!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Fire 5 years on

Does anyone remember the fire in Edinburgh in December 2002 which was widely reported to have destroyed part of the Old Town? Though it turned out not to be quite a bad as that, five and a half years later there is still a huge hole in the middle of the city. Because the site was owned by eight different owners, the negotiations over a redevelopment of the site were long and complex. However I am told there are now concrete plans to build a new city district called SoCo, presumably after its location on the corner of Southbridge and the Cowgate.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Royal Mile 13 - To Be Continued

Well, we've only walked about half-way down the Royal Mile so far, but this is the end of the tour for now. I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the people and places along this great street. I'll finish the tour next time I go on holiday; still to come are, for example, the Scottish Storytelling centre, some of the beautiful courtyards along the Royal Mile and of course the Scottish Parliament.

If all is well I should be back tomorrow and look forward to catching up with you all soon!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Royal Mile 12 - Ghosts & Gouls

Ghost tours are inextricably linked with Edinburgh and a visit to the haunted vaults, graveyards or hidden closes should be part of any stay in the city! This beautiful lady was promoting the Haunted Underground experience, with half of her face covered in 'blood'... (I love how she maintained the make-up in the mirror of a nearby motorbike!)

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Royal Mile 11 - The Fringe

Looking quiet at the moment, but come August this shop will be bustling with people collecting tickets for festival shows. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was originally set up as an aside to the Edinburgh International Festival, for shows that didn’t fit the high-arts bill. It has since massively outgrown the EIF and now sprawls over the entire city, with thousands of performances in 376 different venues!

These two are not the only summer festivals; there’s also the Book Festival, Arts Festival, the Military Tattoo, Mela and the Festival of Politics – and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few. Needless to say, Edinburgh is at its most fabulous in August and you’ll see the pictures here!

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Royal Mile 10 - City Chambers

And this is (a little bit of) the City Chambers, as seen through the arcade at the front of the building. Originally intended as a Royal Exchange but never really used as such, it is now owned and occupied by Edinburgh City Council. You wouldn’t know it from the Royal Mile, but the back of this building towers no less than 12 stories over the street below!

The sculpture you see in the courtyard is a statue of Alexander the Great by the well-known sculptor John Steell. Not too sure about the connection with the council though!

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Friday, 18 July 2008

Royal Mile 9 - Our Lord Provost

This is the city's Lord Provost (kind of like a ceremonial mayor) George Grubb being interviewed opposite the City Chambers. Note the well-dressed council official keeping an eye on the questions!

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Royal Mile 8 - The Mercat Cross

We are now on what is called the ‘High Street’ part of the Royal Mile, which is the widest part of the street and essentially the heart of the Old Town. In August, it is the epicentre of free outdoor theatre and music at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But for centuries, this is where the market was held, where criminals were punished, the gossip was spread and the intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment shared their ideas.

It is also the place where important announcements were made, from a structure called the Mercat Cross; essentially an octagonal pedestal, crowned with a tall column with a white unicorn on top. The current Mercat Cross is not actually the original medieval one. You can still find the location of the old one, as it’s marked in the pavement with an octagon of paving stones.

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Royal Mile 7 - Advocate's Close

Advocate’s Close runs all the way down from the Royal Mile to the bottom of Cockburn Street and is thought to date from 1544. At that time, narrow streets such as this one would have been open sewers, with waste buckets being emptied from the windows above... yuck! Eventually, the ‘nastiness’ would slowly wash away into a stinking expanse of water called the Nor’ Loch – the same place where witches were drowned and possibly even drinking water was gathered… let’s be thankful it was drained in the 18th century to make way for a lovely green park!
Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Royal Mile 6 - Dark Angel

When I asked to take a picture of this handsome character he pointed at his sign saying “Photos = Coins” (see below). I assume that he is one of those living statues, but he was obviously enjoying a break in the sunshine outside one of the Royal Mile’s many old pubs.

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

P.S. I wonder what ‘One Good Turn’ would be for the Dark Angel of the North.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Royal Mile 5 - Wardrop's dragon

I found this beauty above the entrance to one of the many closes running off the Royal Mile. Go through Wardrop's Court to access the 17th century Lady Stair's House, now home to the Writer's Museum.

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Royal Mile 4 - Tartan Tat

Unfortunately, a large number of shops at the top end of the Royal Mile now sell what locals unceremoniously call ‘tartan tat’. They must be doing good business with tourists though.

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Royal Mile 3 - Whisky Heritage...?

One of the distinctive features of the Royal Mile is the people trying to lure you into their heritage/panoramic/ghostly visitor attractions whilst wearing fancy or period dress! This guy has ditched the more traditional period costume in favour of a whisky barrel to promote the Scotch Whisky Experience, at the top of the Royal Mile.

The girl to the left in the beautiful red frock is promoting Gladstone's Land, a 17th century house owned by the National Trust for Scotland. I particularly like the very un-period shoes!

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Friday, 11 July 2008

Royal Mile 2 - Ramsay Garden

We now turn our back to the castle and start wandering down, but soon turn left into a quiet little street called Ramsay Lane. Left again, and you now stand in one of Edinburgh’s most desirable and exclusive streets. Ramsay Garden consists of 16 large private apartments, designed by urban planner Patrick Geddes in the 1890s. At that time, the Old Town was in bad need of regeneration and so the Ramsay Garden development was part of a wider rehabilitation of the area. Fancy living here? A 5-bedroom apartment is currently for sale for just over £1,000,000…

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Royal Mile 1 - Edinburgh Castle

Where better to start than at the very top of the Royal Mile, on the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle? As you can see the stands are now up for the July concerts and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place every day in August.

The Royal Mile is in fact the oldest street in Edinburgh. A mile long, it stretches out along a narrow ridge of rock from Edinburgh Castle at the top, to Holyrood Palace at the bottom. From it, narrow ‘wynds’ and ‘closes’ run down the steep slopes to the north and south of the Royal Mile. For this reason, the layout of Edinburgh’s Old Town has often been compared to a fish’s skeleton.

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Royal Mile - get ready for the tour

It occurred to me that I haven’t really shown you any pictures of our most famous street and best-known tourist attraction, the Royal Mile! As I will be on holiday for the next two weeks I will take you on a tour of the Royal Mile, show you some of the buildings and the people that inhabit this wonderful space. Do come back and leave your comments, I’ll catch up with you all when I get back!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Old College

The University of Edinburgh's Old College on South Bridge incorporates the work of three of the greatest Edinburgh architects. The building was designed by Robert Adam but finished by William Playfair. The dome was part of the original plan but when the building was completed around 1831 there was no money to construct the dome. It was only added in 1887 to a design by Robert Rowand Anderson (the same architect who designed the McEwan Hall and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery).

Monday, 7 July 2008

Above the Deacon Brodie

This is the Bank Street wall above a famous Edinburgh pub called the Deacon Brodie Tavern, which has its entrance on the Royal Mile. The pub was named after Deacon William Brodie, an Edinburgh man who inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

William Brodie (1741-88) was a well-respected member of the Town Council, and Deacon, or Head of the Incorporation of Wrights and Masons. But although Brodie was a respectable tradesman by day, by night he lived a double life of crime. He used his daytime job to copy the keys of his clients, whom he burgled by night. He also used illicit money to fuel his expensive lifestyle which included mistresses and a gambling habit. Brodie was eventually found out, tried and hanged.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Strawberries and cream

Well there's no other word for it; the weather this weekend has been absolutely rubbish! Nevertheless, when it's the Wimbledon final you have to create your own little bit of summer, and there's no better way to do this than with the traditional combo of (Scottish!) strawberries and cream! As I post this the rain has now also reached SW19 because a few minutes ago play was halted in the third set.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Rhapsody in green and red

Whoever said that green and red don't go together? This gentleman was enjoying a cup of coffee along the Middle Meadow Walk, not far from yesterday's musicians.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Middle Mozart Walk

I spotted this group of musicians on the Middle Meadow Walk, near the University. I suspect they were music students trying to earn a bit of money in their holidays - anyway, they were really good! Let's hope they made a bit of money.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Accidental kilt van

A truly Scottish offering for you today. I was trying to take a picture of the gorgeous Ramsay Garden apartments below the castle, when this van turned up and stopped right in front of me on the Mound, as if trying to say - here I am! Pick me! Pick me! So I did.

In Scotland today, kilts - and particularly the full Highland Dress outfits such as shown here - are a perfectly acceptable alternative to a suit or morning suit. They're often worn at weddings and other official events. At ceilidhs (Scottish dances, best thing ever!) kilts are often worn with a more informal, 'Jacobite' shirt - mainly because it'd be way too hot to wear the kind of heavy jacket seen above!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Wine leaves?

Drinking wine al fresco - who doesn't love summer?! I took this picture from the other side of a beer garden in New Town.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

July Theme day: "No..!"

Today's theme is a sign that says 'no'.

To see how the other 171 participating City Daily Photo Bloggers interpreted this month's theme, go here.